Common Name

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Sida fallax Walp.



Whole Plant



Location On Campus

The Ilima plant is located in the garden near Kalama dinning hall.

Natural Habitat


  • Waikiki
  • Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
  • Lyon Arboretum
  • Bishop Museum
  • Halawa Xeriscape Garden
  • Queens beach
  • Makapu'u beach
  • Turtle bay Hilton Hotel
  • Kuilima
  • Waimea Arboretum and botanical garden
  • Ka'ena pt. Natural area reserve


  • Mauna Loa beach hotel
  • Entrance to Kailua town
  • Intersection of Palani road an Ka'ahumanu highway
  • Sadie Seymour Botanical Garden


  • Wailua point

It can grow in open, dry areas from sea level to elevations of 1982 m.

Cultural Information

 The Ilima plant came by wind and it is indigenous to Hawaii and is found in China also. It is used as a laxative for children and also used to cure asthma, thrush, constipation, and birth pain. To cure thrush, the Hawaiians used a combination of 'ilima lei taproots, 'uhalua flower leaf buds, leaves of pölolo, ripe noni, and kökea pound together. Also to cure asthma, they used an 'ilima lei, bark of taproots or pükämole, and kökea mashed together. To cure constipation they would take sap from mashed 'ilima flowers. Lastly, to cure birth pains, the mother would chew and swallow 'ilima flowers.

Plant Description


  • Fibrous roots


  • Grows up and branches out like a shrub
  • Grows up to 183 centimeters tall,but can grow up to be 300 cm tall
  • Herbaceous
  • Used for slats to build houses
  • Can be greenish- brown with a smooth or rough texture


  • Compound leaves
  • Small, light green, heart shaped, blunt/pointed ends, slightly scalloped edges
  • Bright green, smooth or silvery green
  • Hairy texture
  • About 1-8 cm long
  • Serrated margin
  • Pinnate venation


  • Grows solitary or in small clusters of two or three
  • Usually yellow, orange-yellow, dull red, or brown in color
  • Five petals that are approximately 2.5 centimeters in diameter with a group of stamens in the middle


  • 7-12 spokes, wheel like.
  • Beaked with one seed per compartment
  • Colored with a whitish down.


  • Germinates readily
  • Seedlings grow carpels quickly and a low percentage of cuttings will root

Web Site Links


This site will show you another picture of the ‘ilima plant and it will give you a description of this native species.


This is another site that will give you a great description of the ‘ilima plant.


This is a web site that shows a picture and general information about the ‘ilima plant.


Ilima. Cooperation Extensive Service. 7 March. 2003. < ilima. pdf+sida+fallax+walp&hl=en&ie=UTF-8>

Ilima. Kapiolani Community College. 7 March. 2003. < >

Kepler, Angela Kay. Hawaiian Heritage Plants. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii, 1998.

Krauss, Beatrice. Plants in Hawaiian Medicine. Honolulu, Hawaii: The Bess press inc. 2001.

Neal, Marie C. In Gardens of Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaii: The Bishop Museum, 1948.

Whistler, Arthur. Wayside Plants of the Island. Honolulu, Hawaii: Isle Botanica, 1995.

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